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Rosemary Conley on how fitness saved her life and why it’s never too late to start exercising

Rosemary Conley has a huge amount to thank fitness for. Not only has it brought her fame, fortune and happiness, she credits it with helping save her life, too.

“When I was two, I developed asthma. I was really very poorly as a child, and my parents were told I was unlikely to live beyond 10 years old,” says Conley – who shot to fame with her Hip And Thigh Diet in 1988, later launching a UK-wide chain of franchised Rosemary Conley Diet & Fitness Clubs.

“Thankfully, and obviously, I’ve lived a lot longer than that!”

Now 76, she has made very good use of the ‘extra’ time she’s had. As well as her clubs, which went into administration in 2014, she’s written a plethora of books, made regular TV and video appearances – and even now still teaches exercise classes and keeps herself extremely fit.

Conley, who lives with her second husband Mike Rimmington in Leicestershire, continues to see a lung specialist regularly – and says he told her if she hadn’t become a fitness trainer, her life story would be very different.

“I’ve been teaching fitness for 50 years, and it’s been good fortune that I turned into a career of fitness, which has developed my lungs,” she reflects. “My specialist cannot believe that I do what I do with the lungs I have.”

She now has monthly injections of a new biologic asthma drug, which has “dramatically extended” her breathing capacity, as well as taking four inhalers every day, plus a bronchodilator.

“Right through my life, with inhalers, tablets, etc, I’ve managed my asthma,” she says. “I’ve never been hospitalised with it, but it has very much been there. I’ve had to have steroids occasionally. I’ve had pneumonia, I’ve had chest infections, and my body will react badly if I get a really bad cold.”

Rosemary Conley (Alan Olley/PA)

She also has the chronic lung condition bronchiectasis, which damages the airways and can cause excessive mucus.

“It all sounds incredibly gloomy, but I have to tell you, I’ve led an incredibly full life,” she says. “I still teach classes, I go for personal training twice a week, and I do a ballet…


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